Music
60.1k voters

The Greatest American Rock Bands

Updated July 15, 2020 1.5m votes 60.1k voters 1.2m views279 items

List RulesBands must have formed in the United States and have mostly American band members

Update: Follow Ranker's official New Rock 2020 playlist on Spotify!

Some of the greatest bands in rock history are from the United States. While the merits of their musical prowess can be fairly disputed between fans, these famous rock bands bring a certain American flair and bravado that other bands from different countries don't have. Almost all of the American bands on this list should be household names among rock fans and there should be few, if any surprises on this list.

A range of American cities are represented here. Bands from Los Angeles are the most populous here with classic rock bands like The Doors and Van Halen, as well as Guns N' Roses, The Beach Boys, Rage Against the Machine, and The Eagles. Due to the popularity of grunge in the early '90s, Seattle is well represented. Famous bands like Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Soundgarden and Alice in Chains are included on this list. There are metal bands (Metallica), hard rockers (Aerosmith, Alice Cooper), psych bands (Grateful Dead, Phish), punk outfits (The Ramones, Green Day) and even funk bands (Sly and the Family Stone, Prince) that are on this list. If a band is from America and awesome, it should be here.

Vote for the top American rock bands that you think are the best to come from the 50 states. Pick the band who you consider to be the greatest American rock band of all time. There are plenty of great choices to choose from so you can't really go wrong.

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  • 1
    Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers
    14,689
    8,035

    Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers

    The Last DJ, Damn the Torpedoes

    Genres (Music)Blues-rock, New Wave, Classic rock, Heartland rock, Rock music

    Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers (alternately Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers) were an American... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button

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  • 2
    Creedence Clearwater Revival
    17,189
    10,643

    Creedence Clearwater Revival

    Green River, Cosmo's Factory

    Genres (Music)Blues-rock, Blue-eyed soul, Swamp pop, Rock music, Garage rock

    Creedence Clearwater Revival (often referred to as Creedence or CCR) was an American rock band... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button

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  • 3
    Elvis Presley
    10,667
    5,162

    Elvis Presley

    Jailhouse Rock, The Sun Sessions

    Genres (Music)Christian music, Pop music, Rock music, Rockabilly, Country rock

    Elvis Aaron Presley (January 8, 1935 – August 16, 1977), also known mononymously as Elvis, was... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button

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  • 4
    Jimi Hendrix
    13,018
    4,114

    Jimi Hendrix

    First Rays of the New Rising Sun, Band of Gypsys

    Genres (Music)Blues-rock, Rock music, Experimental rock, Psychedelia, Heavy metal

    The greatest rock star of them all.

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  • 5
    Johnny Cash
    9,689
    4,204

    Johnny Cash

    American V: A Hundred Highways, American IV: The Man Comes Around

    Genres (Music)Outlaw country, Christian music, Americana, Rock music, Rockabilly

    John R. "Johnny" Cash (February 26, 1932 – September 12, 2003) was an American... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button

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  • 6
    Aerosmith
    16,714
    10,445

    Aerosmith

    Toys in the Attic, Pump

    Genres (Music)Glam metal, Blues-rock, Rock music, Heavy metal, Rock and roll

    Aerosmith is an American rock band formed in Boston, Massachusetts, in 1970. The group... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button

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  • 7
    Eagles
    18,446
    11,837

    Eagles

    Hotel California, Eagles Greatest Hits

    Genres (Music)Country pop, Rock music, Folk rock, Country rock, Soft rock

    The Eagles are an American rock band formed in Los Angeles in 1971 by Glenn Frey, Don Henley,... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button
  • 8
    Lynyrd Skynyrd
    15,089
    9,698

    Lynyrd Skynyrd

    (pronounced 'lĕh-'nérd 'skin-'nérd), Second Helping

    Genres (Music)Outlaw country, Blues-rock, Boogie rock, Rock music, Country rock

    Lynyrd Skynyrd is an American rock band best known for popularizing the southern hard-rock... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button

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  • 9
    Nirvana
    13,944
    9,609

    Nirvana

    Nevermind, In Utero

    Genres (Music)Rock music, Grunge, Alternative rock, Punk rock, Hardcore punk

    Nirvana was an American grunge band that was formed by singer/guitarist Kurt Cobain and... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button

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  • 10
    Prince and the Revolution
    8,590
    5,494

    Prince and the Revolution

    Purple Rain, Around the World in a Day

    Genres (Music)Rock music, Heavy metal, Rhythm and blues, Pop rock, Experimental music

    The Revolution was an American rock band formed in Minneapolis, Minnesota in 1979 by Prince.... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button

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  • 11
    The Beach Boys
    13,982
    9,802

    The Beach Boys

    Pet Sounds, Surfin' USA

    Genres (Music)Pop music, Rock music, Psychedelic pop, Traditional pop music, Country rock

    The Beach Boys are an American rock and roll band. Formed in 1961, they gained popularity for... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button

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  • 12
    Chuck Berry
    5,240
    2,962

    Chuck Berry

    The Great Twenty-Eight, Maybellene

    Genres (Music)Rock music, Rhythm and blues, Rock and roll, Blues

    Charles Edward Anderson Berry (October 18, 1926 – March 18, 2017) was an American singer and... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button
  • 13
    Journey
    11,370
    8,077

    Journey

    Escape, Frontiers

    Genres (Music)Rock music, Jazz fusion, Pop rock, Soft rock, Progressive rock

    Journey is an American rock band that formed in San Francisco in 1973, composed of former... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button
  • 14
    Simon and Garfunkel
    5,559
    3,383

    Simon and Garfunkel

    Bridge Over Troubled Water, Sounds of Silence

    Genres (Music)Pop music, Worldbeat, Rock music, Folk music, Folk rock

    I Am a Rock, etc.

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  • 15
    Guns N' Roses
    13,174
    8,485

    Guns N' Roses

    Appetite for Destruction, G N' R Lies

    Genres (Music)Glam metal, Blues-rock, Rock music, Heavy metal, Rock and roll

    Guns N' Roses is an American hard rock band formed in Los Angeles, in 1985. The classic lineup... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button

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  • 16
    Van Halen
    13,714
    10,134

    Van Halen

    Van Halen, 1984

    Genres (Music)Glam metal, Rock music, Heavy metal, Hard rock

    Van Halen is an American hard rock band formed in Pasadena, California in 1972. Credited with... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button

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  • 17
    The Doors
    16,191
    12,114

    The Doors

    The Doors, L.A. Woman

    Genres (Music)Blues-rock, Rock music, Protopunk, Heavy metal, Jazz fusion

    The Doors were an American rock band formed in 1965 in Los Angeles, with vocalist Jim... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button

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  • 18
    Santana
    9,446
    6,988

    Santana

    Abraxas, Supernatural

    Genres (Music)Blues-rock, Chicano rock, Rock music, Rock en Español, Jazz fusion

    Santana is a Latin rock band, founded in San Francisco during the late 1960s by Carlos Santana... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button
  • 19
    Metallica
    13,407
    9,860

    Metallica

    Master of Puppets, Ride the Lightning

    Genres (Music)Thrash metal, Rock music, Heavy metal, Speed metal, Hard rock

    Metallica is an American heavy metal band. The band was formed in 1981 in Los Angeles by... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button

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  • 20
    ZZ Top
    10,882
    8,092

    ZZ Top

    Tres Hombres, Eliminator

    Genres (Music)Blues-rock, Boogie rock, Rock music, Electric blues, Heavy metal

    ZZ Top is an American rock band formed in 1969 in Houston, Texas. The band has, since 1970,... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button

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  • 21
    Pearl Jam
    11,120
    8,476

    Pearl Jam

    Ten, Vs.

    Genres (Music)Rock music, Grunge, Post-grunge, Alternative rock, Hard rock

    Pearl Jam is an American rock band, formed in Seattle, Washington, in 1990. Since its... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button

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  • 22
    Foo Fighters
    8,339
    6,328

    Foo Fighters

    Wasting Light, The Colour and the Shape

    Genres (Music)Alternative rock, Post-grunge

    Foo Fighters is an American rock band, formed in Seattle in 1994. It was founded by Nirvana... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button

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  • 23
    Bob Seger & the Silver Bullet Band
    9,209
    7,020

    Bob Seger & the Silver Bullet Band

    'Live' Bullet, Against the Wind

    Genres (Music)Rock music

    Bob Seger & The Silver Bullet Band are an American rock band led by Bob Seger.Amazon buy button
  • 24
    Heart
    9,161
    7,061

    Heart

    Dreamboat Annie, Little Queen

    Genres (Music)Pop music, Rock music, Folk rock, Heavy metal, Pop rock

    Heart is a rock band that first found success in Canada and later in the United States and... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button
  • 25
    Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young
    7,214
    5,532

    Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young

    Déjà vu, 4 Way Street

    Genres (Music)Rock music, Folk rock

    Crosby, Stills & Nash is a folk rock supergroup made up of David Crosby, Stephen Stills and... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button